It was an honor to be interviewed by Casey Beros, for an article in My Body and Soul magazine on how to take control of your career. Read the original article here:”Why Your Career Isn’t Going the Way You’d Like“
For many of us, career progression is simply not a straight line and we hit the panic button when it doesn’t light our fire.
Now that 2017 is well and truly in full swing, we want to help you keep those resolutions and good intentions on track for a happy and healthy year. That’s why myBody+Soul has created #HitRefresh, a five-week expert lead content series that will help you refresh everything from your diet and exercise regime to your beauty skills and sex life. Don’t miss the daily tips and trick that’ll ensure 2017 is your best year yet.
It’s the number one gripe I hear come out of my friends’ mouths – “my career just isn’t going the way I thought it would”. We’ve crossed that sad line where we realise we have about as much chance of becoming a VS angel as we do of curing cancer, and it’s high time to get cracking on our career.
Some of us are blessed early on and ‘get’ that a career strategy pays dividends, but for many of us, career progression is simply not a straight line, and we hit the panic button when we find ourselves in a job (or career) that just doesn’t light our fire, and if there’s no fire – then we need to change campsites.
Jane Jackson is a career management coach and author of Navigating Career Crossroads, who says getting more out of our careers is easy, as long as we know what we want.
“What often makes people unhappy in their roles is low pay, lack of opportunity and no chance for career advancement,” she says. “Many people stay in jobs that don’t satisfy them because they aren’t aware of their options or they’re afraid to make a change. This causes a great deal of stress because they compromise their values, and too often I meet people full of regrets – that they didn’t make a change earlier in their career, or that they did what was expected of them rather than what they wanted for themselves.”
Career Revamp #1: If you’re in the right career, but want more out of your role
First, identify what you want and then make a plan as to how to get it. “We need to consider our strengths and weaknesses, what brings us joy, what feels like an exciting challenge and what we want to learn,” says Jackson. From there, work out what the opportunities are within your organisation, and communicate clearly what you want – something Jackson says we often take for granted when we’re starting a new role.
“People frequently don’t ask what career progression opportunities there may be or other important questions during interviews, because they’re afraid or not well prepared,” she says.
Remember: It’s never too late and you’re well within your rights to start the conversation – it’ll show your superiors that you’re serious about your career. And if it falls on deaf ears, it may be time to consider a change to somewhere with more opportunity.
Career Revamp #2: If you’re halfway out the door, but scared to make the leap
Most of us put job hunting in the same category as a Sunday trip to IKEA, a daunting but necessary form of torture, and Jackson says actively searching for that new role prevents many of us from making the leap. For people who feel stuck, the key could be within your network.
“Talk to people in different careers,” she says. “Ask them why they chose their profession, what they like and don’t like about it, and what qualifications and aptitudes are required for success,” she explains. “It’s very hard to make a career change without a supportive network of people who can help open doors. A career coach or mentor can ask the right questions to draw out the real or perceived barriers and then work with you to overcome them.”
Career Revamp #3: If you’re just starting out, or scared you don’t ‘fit the mould’
Jackson says you should see and promote your strengths rather than focusing on perceived weaknesses, and find a role that fits you – not the other way around. Stay at home Mum? You’re organized and cool under pressure. Don’t have enough experience? You’re full of enthusiasm and ready to be trained ‘their’ way. Been in the game too long? Your lengthy experience is invaluable.
“The most important skill to develop in any career is effective communication and self-leadership,” she says. “Regardless of how qualified you are, without effective communication, you won’t be able to develop the strong relationships required to be a leader. Without self-leadership, you won’t have the discipline to persevere towards your goals regardless of any setbacks.”
Career Revamp #4: If you’re thinking about a ‘side hustle’, but aren’t sure whether you can convert it to a career
Jackson says to think like Nike. “Just Do It! The side hustle could turn into a career or could be what keeps you sane in a role where you feel a little stuck.”
One person who did just that is Perth’s Nikki Heyder – who started her nutrition and catering business NOOD after working towards a career in Human Resources.
“I loved working in corporate and was good at my job, but after a few years I felt like there was something missing,” she explains. “When I finished work I just couldn’t wait to get home to create beautiful meals to share with my friends and family. I had an overwhelming feeling that I just had to try doing something with food, and if worse came to worse, I’d go back to working in HR.”
Four years later Heyder was working as a cook and converting comfort food recipes into healthy ones when she decided to formally study nutrition.
“My clients started asking where they could buy ‘ready to eat’ healthy meals,” she says. “After opening our first pop up store, the food side of the business took off. We opened our first cafe six months ago and now focus on wholesome catering solutions. It has definitely been a rollercoaster ride – loads of incredible highs, and many difficult and stressful lows. But at the end of a hard day where everything seems to go backwards, you still want to lie in bed and look forward to what the next day might bring.”
Regardless of whether you’re looking for more in your current role, or thinking about making a change, it’s time to put together a kick-ass career action plan.
#1 Know it’s okay to not be where you want to be, right now
“Sometimes out of necessity people take a role that will pay the bills rather than light their fire,” Jackson says. “However if they know the role is a stepping stone and there is a plan to move on once financial stability is reached, then there is greater satisfaction as they know they’re on a journey towards a role they will really enjoy.”
#2 Work out what it is you L.O.V.E
“If you do what you love then you won’t work a day in your life” has stuck around for a reason, but Heyder says there’s no formula: “It just comes down to looking inwards and being honest with yourself – what makes you burst with joy on the inside? Don’t feel flat if you just don’t know, maybe it just hasn’t crossed your path yet and you’re in for an exciting surprise.”
#3 Test the waters
Heyder says the best thing to do is keep your current job and have a go with your passion on the side. “Start by doing what you love for family and friends and you’ll soon know if it’s where your heart lies. If not? No harm done. You haven’t lost anything, just gained experience and learned something more about yourself.”
#4 Get help – in the form of a mentor or career coach
Feeling lost in your career is perfectly normal, and too often we let pride get in the way of asking for help.
“In my coaching sessions clients get someone who is in their corner to provide support, guidance and a reality check,” Jackson says. “I work with them to rebuild their self confidence, assess what really makes them tick in their careers and then set a plan to get from their current position to their dream role.”
In the wise, wise words of Oprah, don’t fear change, invite it in and tell 2017 to #HitRefresh and bring it on: “The big secret in life is that there is no big secret. Whatever your goal, you can get there if you’re willing to work.”